International Dark Sky Parks

~ a park or other public land possessing exceptional starry skies and natural nocturnal habitat where light pollution is mitigated and natural darkness is valuable as an important educational, cultural, scenic, and natural resources.

An International Dark Sky Park is a location of exceptional nighttime beauty, dark skies education, and preservation of the nighttime environment. Each park shown below has gone above and beyond the requirements as stated in our International Dark Sky Park Guidelines. 

parkscollage 830

 

Three tiers designate the quality of night skies the park is recognized for. Gold represents the highest award representing the darkest skies, followed by the Silver and Bronze designations. Requirements for each of the designations are shown in the table below. 

 

 

GoldGold

GoldSilver

GoldBronze

Artificial Light and Skyglow

Typical observer is not distracted by glary light sources. Light domes are only dim and restricted to sky close to horizon.

Point light sources and glary lights do not dominate nighttime scene. Light domes present around horizon bud do not stretch to zenith.

Areas with greater artificial light and skyglow than Silver, but where aspects of the natural sky are still visible.

Visual Limiting Magnitude

Equal or greater than 6.8 under clear skies and good seeing conditions

6.0 to 6.7 under clear skies and good conditions

5.0-5.9 under clear skies and good seeing conditions

Bortle Sky Class

1-3

3-5

5-6

Observable Sky Phenomena

The full array of visible sky phenomena can be viewed—e.g. aurora, airglow, Milky Way, zodiacal light, and faint meteors

Brighter sky phenomena can be regularly viewed, with fainter ones sometimes visible. Milky Way is visible in summer and winter.

Many sky phenomena cannot be seen. Milky Way is faintly seen when pointed out, as is Andromeda Galaxy.

Unihedron Sky Quality Meter

21.75 or above

21.00 or above

20.00 or above

 

The International Dark-Sky Association continues to accept applications from parks wishing to join in the ranks of the highest prestige for nighttime visages.

If you are interested in applying or learning more about the process please fill out this form.

Download the Guidelines

Download the IDA-RASC-Guidelines for Outdoor Lighting

 

Release of Updates to IDSPlaces Guidelines

Updated guidelines for communities, parks, and reserves have been released. Please refer to these new guidelines when applying for designation.

If you are interested in developing or are currently developing an application for a location we encourage you to consider these new guidelines. Locations that are currently developing applications, and have made substantial progress (as approved by the IDA program manager) will have until 25 November 2013 to complete and submit their applications under the previous guidelines. The previous guidelines have been removed from the website but are available upon request. To submit under the previous guidelines you must have contact with the program manager and receive approval.

As part of the new guidelines bi-monthly submission deadlines will be set. These dates will be updated yearly. The deadlines represent the date that the applications (already reviewed and approved by the IDA program manager) will be sent to the committee. This year's dates are listed below:

Submission Deadline Dates:

27 January 2014
24 March 2014
26 May 2014
28 July 2014
22 September 2014
24 November 2014

 

 
Download the new guidelines:
 
Download Chinese translation of the guidelines:
點擊此處下載指南: 夜空公園 (Dark Sky Park)
Translation courtesy of IDA Beijing / Starry Sky Project of China
 

For Certified IDSPlaces

Download the Annual Report for Parks and Reserves

 


 

Certified International Dark Sky Parks

Name

Location

Year Established

Tier

Natural Bridges National Monument

Utah, USA

2007

Gold

Cherry Springs State Park

Pennsylvania, USA

2008

 Gold

Galloway Forest Park

Scotland, UK

2009

Gold

Zselic National Landscape Protection Area

Hungary

2009

Gold

Goldendale Observatory Park

Washington, USA

2010

Gold

Clayton Lake State Park

New Mexico, USA

2010

Gold

Hortobagy National Park

Hungary

2011

Gold

Observatory Park

Ohio, USA

2011

Gold

The Headlands

Michigan, USA

2011

Gold

Big Bend National Park

Texas, USA

2012

Gold

Death Valley National Park

California, USA

2013

Gold

Chaco Culture National Historical Park

New Mexico, USA

2013

 Gold

Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water Forest Park

Northumberland, England

2013

Gold

Eifel International Dark Sky Park

North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

2014

Provisional

Mayland Community College Blue Ridge Observatory and Star Park

North Carolina, USA

2014

Gold

Parashant International Night Sky Province

 Arizona, USA

 2014

 Gold

Hovenweep National Monument

Utah-Colorado, USA

2014

Gold
 

Texas, USA

 
2014 Gold
 Enchanted Rock State Natural Area Texas, USA
 
2014 Gold

 

 


Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

   

Texas, USA
 
Established 2014
 
An iconic, central Texas natural landmark and surrounding state lands, totaling 1,600 acres (650 acres), have been named a Gold-tier International Dark Sky Park. Together with Copper Breaks State Park, the award is the first for land managed by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

Gold Tier
 

 


 

Copper Breaks State Park

   

Texas, USA
 
Established 2014
 
1,900 acres (770 ha) of publicly owned land in Hardeman County, Texas have received Gold-tier International Dark Sky Park recognition from IDA. Together with Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, the award is the first for land managed by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

Gold Tier
 

 


 

Hovenweep National Monument

Hovenweep Pacholka 300 Hovenweep 300

(Photo credits. Left: Wally Pacholka/AstroPics.com; Right: Jacob Frank/NPS)

Hovenweep National Monument

Utah-Colorado, USA
Established 2014

785 acres (318 hectares) of federal lands divided among six non-contiguous park units along the Utah-Colorado border in the ‘Four Corners’ region of the American Southwest have been named the world's seventeenth International Dark Sky Park and the first to span more than one U.S state.

 Gold Tier

Read the press release
Review the
application

 


 

Parashant International Night Sky Province

   

Arizona, USA

Established 2014

1.05 million acres (425,000 ha) of land in rural northwestern Arizona have been recognized as a Gold-tier member of the International Dark Sky Parks family. The award is the first for a land unit partially administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Gold Tier

Read the press release
Review the application

 


Mayland Community College Blue Ridge Observatory and Star Park

Blue Ridge EnergyXchange 250h  Blue Ridge Milky Way 250 

North Carolina, USA

Established 2014

Six acres (2.4 hectatres) of land in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina have been recognized by IDA as the first International Dark Sky Park in the southeastern United States.

Silver Tier

Read the press release 

Review the application

 


Eifel International Dark Sky Park

Eifel Park Logo 333h  Eifel Milky Way 250 

North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Established 2014

110 square kilometers (42 square miles) of territory in west-central Germany
have been granted a provisional designation as an IDA International Dark Sky Park.  Eifel International Dark Sky Park is the first IDA Dark Sky Park named in Germany.
 
Provisional
 
 

 


 

Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water Forest Park

Northumberland

Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water and Forest Park

Northumberland, England

Gold Tier

Established 2013

Review the application

Read the Press Release

 

 


 

Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Chaco Culture National Historic Park
The Milky Way by courtesy of Stan Honda

Chaco Culture National Historical Park

New Mexico, USA

Gold Tier

Established 2013

Review the application

Read the Press Release

 


 

Death Valley National Park

 

racetrack night sky
The Racetrack at Night by Dan & Cindy Duriscoe

 

Death Valley National Park

California, USA

Gold Tier

Established 2013

Review the application

Read the Press Release

 


 

Big Bend National Park

Stars over Big Bend National Park by Tyler Nordgren

Big Bend National Park by Tyler Nordgren

 

Big Bend National Park

Texas, USA

Gold Tier

Established 2012

Review the application

 

 


 

The Headlands

    HeadlandsMilkyway5Bweb
The Headlands by Robert de Jonge

 

The Headlands

Emmet County, Michigan

Silver Tier

Established 2011

Review the application

Visit the Headlands site  

Schedule of Events

 

 


 

Observatory Park

Observatory Park

A view of the Observatory Park

 

Observatory Park

Monteville Township, Ohio (USA)

Silver Tier

Established 2011

Review the  application

 

 


 

Hortobagy National Park, Hungary


Nightwatch at the park

 

Starry Sky Park

Hortobagy National Park, Hungary

Silver Tier

Established 2011

Review the   application

 

 


 

Clayton Lake State Park

Clayton_Image.jpg
The Night Sky at Clayton Lake State Park

 

Clayton Lake State Park

New Mexico, USA

Gold Tier

Established 2010 

Review the   application

 

 


 

Goldendale Observatory Park

GOSP Troy Carpenter
Goldendale Observatory Park by Troy Carpenter

 

Goldendale Observatory Park

Washington, USA

Silver Tier

Established 2010

Review the   application

Press Release on Goldendale Observatory's status

 

 


 

Zselic National Landscape Protection Area

zselic_zl-Zoltan-Kollath-web.jpg
Image by Zoltán Kolláth

 

Zselic National Landscape Protection Area

Hungary 

Silver Tier

Established 2009

Review the   application

 

 


 

Galloway Forest Park

IMG_6825-James-Hilder-web.jpg
Galloway Forest Park by James Hilder

 

Galloway Forest Park

Scotland, UK 

Gold Tier

Established 2009

Review the   application

 

 


 

 

 

Cherry Springs State Park

MilkyWay_2005-Dave-Wymer.jpg

Cherry Springs State Park by Dave Wymer

 

Cherry Springs State Park

Pennsylvania, USA 

Gold Tier

Established 2008 

Review the  application

 

 


 

Natural Bridges National Monument

The First International Dark Sky Park

NaturalBridges

Image by Wally Pacholka (www.astropics.com)

 

Natural Bridges National Monument

Utah, USA

Established 2007

Gold Tier

Review the   application